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The Litowitz Creative Writing Graduate Program

The Litowitz Creative Writing Graduate Program
MFA+MA in Creative Writing and English


This new and distinctive program offers intimate classes, the opportunity to pursue both creative and critical writing, close mentorship by renowned faculty in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, and three fully supported years in which to grow as writers and complete a book-length creative project.  Our curriculum gives students time to deepen both their creative writing and their study of literature.  Students will receive full financial support for three academic years and two summers.  Both degrees—the MFA in Creative Writing and the MA in English—are awarded simultaneously at graduation.

Drawing on innovative scholarship, deep immersion in process, and cross-pollination between critical and creative texts, students will complete a Capstone essay—a 20-25 page expanded version of a paper written for an English department graduate or MFA+MA seminar—by the end of their second year, and will spend their third year mostly working on a book-length creative thesis of their own design, either within one genre or across genres.  The program's small size and attentive faculty will develop students' sense of literary context, the possibilities of genre, and their creative practice, while encouraging them to pursue the individual distinctiveness of their projects.

Our program provides significant exposure to a second genre in addition to the genre in which a student has been admitted. Students will take at least one genre-specific workshop each year and one or two workshops where work from a second genre will be discussed. In most workshops, students will be able to write in the genre of their choice.

Over two years of coursework students will take:
Litowitz MFA+MA Course Descriptions
English 493: Elements of Craft a first-year fall-quarter seminar-based workshop which begins students’ Northwestern workshop experience. This course will focus on a craft issue that is relevant across genres (syntax, for example.) Students will read both creative and critical work and will have the opportunity to workshop writing in their genre or a second genre. 
English 494: The Long Form a second-year workshop which will begin the process of writing a book-length manuscript.
English 495: Multi-genre Creative Writing Workshop a cross-genre writing workshop in which each student works in a home-genre, but reads and discusses (and is encouraged to experiment in) an additional genre.
English 496, 497, 498: Creative Writing Workshop (Poetry; Fiction; Creative Nonfiction, respectively) three quarters in a home-genre writing workshop.
English 403: Writers’ Studies in Literature three quarters of a seminar-workshop focused on interpreting literature from a writer’s perspective and on deepening the process and projects of the writer.
English 571: Teaching Creative Writing a seminar on designing and teaching undergraduate creative writing courses.
English 4XX Six graduate seminars in British, American, or global anglophone literature.
English 491: Editorial Practicum During the summer after the first and second years, each student will register for English 491: Editorial Practicum, which consists of participating in the editing of
English 490 Three quarters as a graduate assistant (second, and sometimes third year) teaching undergraduate creative writing courses (Teaching Assistantship) or serving in another capacity as a graduate assistant (Graduate Assistantship).

In spring quarter of the second year, with advising and mentoring by the faculty, each student will complete the MA Capstone Essay.

In year three, students will be almost wholly dedicated to their creative thesis manuscripts.  Third-year students will take three quarters of the MFA Thesis Workshop/Tutorial.

Some students will complete their MFA thesis manuscript by the end of this year; others will wish to take more time.  The Graduate School permits students to submit the culminating project for the MFA at the end of full-time enrollment, or afterward.   

In all three years, students will be mentored by the faculty in the practice of their writing, the design of their projects, and regarding artistic and intellectual resources for their work.  In the teaching of creative writing and, through summer editorial work at, students will get first-hand experience in editing a literary journal.

Visiting writers (including some anglophone international writers) will bring new perspectives to artistic practice, the three genres, and cross-genre or multi-genre work.

Students will pursue their work on our beautiful Evanston campus, amid artists, filmmakers, scholars and public intellectuals, with easy access to the vibrant literary arts scene of Chicago.

Admissions Cycle

Each year, the MFA+MA program admits new students in two of our three genres.  The genres in question rotate annually.  Information on the application process and the genres in which applications will be considered can be found here.

The Department of English is grateful to Northwestern University alumna Jennifer Leischner Litowitz ’91 and her husband, Alec Litowitz for helping launch and support this program.
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